Sound Transit Finance Committee takes key actions to prepare for Central Link Construction

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The Sound Transit Board's Finance Committee has authorized execution of two contracts that set the stage for construction of the initial segment of Central Link Light Rail. The committee on Thursday gave Executive Director Joni Earl the go-ahead to execute a contract with R.W. Rhine of Tacoma, Washington for site preparation of the Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle's SODO Neighborhood.

The Finance Committee also approved authorization for the Executive Director to execute a contract with Sabre Communications Corporation of Fort Worth, Texas for the design and manufacture of 21 steel poles and anchor bolt cages. These poles will be used to replace major Seattle City Light transmission lines that must be moved along part of the Link alignment south of downtown. Neither action requires full Board approval.

"These are significant steps forward for Sound Transit," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. "These contracts bring us closer to fulfilling my commitment to begin light rail construction this year. Link Light Rail will be a major component of the city---and regional---transportation system. We're making progress. We're getting the job done."

Sound Transit Executive Director Joni Earl pointed out there are still some important steps to be taken before actual work begins at the O&M site.

"We will not award the contract until the Federal Transit Administration gives us the go ahead. Today's decision means we are ready to get started."

"These actions," said Mayor Nickels, "also reflect Sound Transit's improved estimating, budgeting and project control systems."

"As former Finance Committee chair, it is pleasing for me to note the maintenance base site preparation was budgeted at more than $15 million, and the contract is for less than $5 million, including a 15% contingency. The pole procurement was budgeted at more than $2 million, and the contract is for just over $1 million. The combined savings are $11 million!"

Nickels pointed out that site preparation budgets are always extremely conservative because agencies can't count on the value of material salvaged from the site. In this case the contractor will be able to recover a substantial portion of their costs from materials salvaged during the site preparation.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.